Pickings from my Journal

I’ve been busy and distracted by all the happenings, this is normal in my life. Pero, usually I can rally myself and write here on my blog, but here I sit in front of my computer, wondering what to write, feeling the clock ticking and saying, “hurry up tomorrow is publishing day.” I picked up an old journal to stir me up and it did.

My little green journal (a gift from Daniella, I wrote that note too) kept me company during 2010-2012.  I opened it up and stepped into a time capsule filled with emotional talks with the Lord, feeling them again, remembering the intensity of every relationship. Every momentous situation seemed to be tinged with anxiety and through the pages I see now how God held me; patiently and snuggly. Listen…

“Where I’m at as I begin this journal”

Ben and I have passed the intensity. I sense that Ben does love me. (I remembered again how after 21 years of marriage, crisis had hit us and picking up had only been because God held us together) 

Jonathan is 20 now. He’s deep in a relationship with Denise. He is restless and undisciplined in many areas. (Y pues, he was, and 11 years into marriage they have learned alot! Y siguen adelante. still learning. They know Gods with them and fights for them. They know that they will find direction and get wisdom from Gods words; it’s alive! Together with their 5 kids they know that marriage works if they work at it. Y pues, they do work very hard, Denise has turned out to be his crown)

Daniella-is 18 now and is courting Marcus. Things are progressing rapidly. Wish I could know she was sure beyond anything. (Also 11 years into marriage, she knows things change constantly, except God, and she is sure of His authorship, what he started in her, in them, he will complete. She’s a mother of 3 strapping little boys, they are too smart for their own good. With Daniella for their teacher, how could they not excel so quickly?)

Emery is 13 now and is growing into a fine young man. He’s got good humor, he is saved (Born Again) and he’s overcoming the “whiny, me” attitude. (Wow! How the years have flown by. Tuesday he’ll be 26. His wife is planning his birthday now, pero gracias a Dios that my hand is still in the mix!) 

Thomas is 8 now. I’m struggling with his schooling. Trying to decide the right thing to do for him. Binding fear and praying for self control. (Hijole! My baby is now almost 21! He is a beautiful young man.)

That was just the first page! I slowly reviewed it, looking back at the past decade and more. Looking back reminds me of Gods constant care of us, his kids. I’m so thankful for Gods blessings. I love the way my kids through the years have rallied to help each other out. They pray for each other and give to one another and work hard at letting go of offenses. La verdad es que, Daniella, has to be very patient with her brothers, they are brutes! Y pues, constantemente she must forgive them for their heavy jesting. But aside from that, the San Diego Greenes get along beautifully!

En Conclusíon

Reading back through the pages of this little green journal, has been quite therapeutic. I’m glad I did this. I feel better now. Que Dios los bendiga a todos. 

How I Processed The Sermon on the Mount: 

This past week I’ve been rereading Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount. Each time I read it, I have to stop in my tracks. As I processed this, the Holy Spirit faithfully put a flashlight to my heart and my ways. More spring cleaning was done, of the heart kind. 

 As far as the Beatitudes go, I wrote in my journal, Goals! I do want to be blessed living in His way. And I slowly processed the first three, “Blessed are…” 

The poor in spirit- depleting myself of me, hijole! How is it that “me” always crowds up my heart space?

Those that mourn-realizing again how weighed down I get with stubbornness and pride. How this sin destroys me and those around me. 

The meek-they quietly submit to God. When she understands his will and when she doesn’t, she submits quietly. I’m not that person yet, but I do want to be. I question when I don’t understand, I want to pout when I don’t want to accept something outside of my will. A meek person is not easily provoked or quick to defend themselves. Meek people exercise self control, even when they show their displeasure at sin, they are not rude about it. A meek person will forgive personal offenses, more than once. 

Lots of processing, lots of spring cleaning and decluttering happened that morning. I kept reading. Again I was floored, how was it that I did not truly pay attention to this scripture? 

Matthew 5: 42 Give to the one who asks you and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 

“Give to the one who asks you” Give what? Jesus wasn’t necessarily talking about money. Give money, time, love, respect, the gospel, water, food, friendship…Hijole! The list is long. Luego, who am I supposed to give to? “To him that asks of thee” I considered all the things that I was asked for the day before:

  • My DIL asked if she could throw a party for Emery, she was ready for a date
  • My grandson Jeremiah asked me for water.
  • The panhandler asked for money
  • One of the young ladies at church asked if we could pray together
  • My Flaco asked for lunch.
  • Thomas asked for an envelope.
  • My sis asked for help with putting together her recipe
  • A new believer asked for advice on how to share Gods love
  • Several friends asked for prayer
  • My son and niece asked for prayer
  • Another grandson, Judah asked for some of my pretzels.
  • My husband needed my help in moving something.

Luego, I remembered all the things I asked for that same day,

  • I asked God for a long list of personal needs 
  • I asked my young friend for use of her creative ability.
  • I asked my husband for grocery money.
  • I asked my husband again for help with cleaning my backroom.
  • I asked my husband yet again for help with posting on Offerup to sell some items.
  • I asked my daughter for help on my blogs
  • I asked to be served at Vallartas Mexican Food restaurant.
  • I asked the ladies in our prayer group to help me pray.

To anyone who asks young, old, stranger, neighbor, family and those that I don’t want to give to!  If Jesus is telling us to give, then he expects us to be prepared to do so. Deuteronomy 15:8 says you shall open your hand wide and willingly lend him sufficient for his need. 

En Conclusíon

I have never really thought of how much I ask for and how much is as asked of me in just one day. Giving makes the world go round. God gave his only begotten son for us. Jesus gave his will and life for us to live abundant lives, y mil gracias a Dios. He assures us “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38 ESV) I am glad for the Word God gives us, it really does keep you on his narrow path. I encourage you to ready that famous sermon again y que Dios los bendiga, with all his giving to you.

Reminders to be Thankful and Pick up the Phone

It’s Thanksgiving season and I’ve been doing some gratitude research. Learning the science behind gratitude has been an eye opening, or maybe reopening experience, a wonderful reminder of how good it is to be grateful. 

When I was little and I happened to be in the house taking a break from playing hard outdoors and it was novela hour, I had to be quiet or else! Since novelas are so dramatic, body language so extreme and words so powerful, some of it will still ring in my head at random times, like now. “Que Ingrata eres!!” in english it’s not that powerful “You’re so ungrateful!” Or isn’t it?

Holidays tend to want to make me focus on the voids in my life. I’ve been making a mess of my memory treasure box trying to find the perfect Thanksgiving memory. Pulling out all kinds of stuff that is great, or sad or hijole! That stuff that you don’t ever bring up again. Asi es, I miss my ama, my apa and my sisters, I miss Thanksgiving with them, I’m grateful for the ones I did have.  I do want to go into that lonely place and just remember.

Then it hit me, right between my ears, knocking over the memories. Chilindrina, my apas favorite little girl always said Si seras! I’ve got so much here, on this earth journey to be grateful for. Pero, digging further is appreciating the things I wouldn’t normally give a shout out to. Ahora, while I can and while I still have these tangible blessings I’m going to count a couple of them out loud.

DIY Thanksgiving Wreaths:

I’ve had 4 children that brought home so many crafts from their school days. Can I say, without them hearing me, that I had so many school projects I dreaded them. Shhh, it’s not supposed to be said out loud. Asi es, and through the years I’ve had to minimize my DIY treasures.

Pues, the other day, my grandson Marcus sent me  a Thanksgiving wreath, made by his own two little hands. Y ahora, I realize that those treasures only come for a short season, I’m so blessed that he decided to give it to his ama.  Immediatamente I said, I’m gonna get my phone and take a picture and send it to Daniella to share with Marcus, with a text, saying “I love my wreath, thank you” Pero, I got distracted and didn’t pick up my phone to take that pic and send a message. 

How To Appreciate A Phone Call:

So this big brother of mine, Fernando, apa called him Chapparro, is very good about keeping in touch with me. All through my adult years he’s mostly been connected and concerned for me. He calls me to check on me, then we chat about his favorite topic, politics. He fills me in on all the bad news of my state and at some point our conversation will always get animated. We are both blessed with our mothers vocal chords so it gets to be a loud interrupting conversation. My son Thomas loves to hear us talking, or is it shouting? He says it’s a novela. I am thankful for these phone calls, I’m so glad to have a big familia and sibling experience.

I am guilty as charged. My sister Patty was always frustrated with me. “Why do I always have to call you?” Por supuesto that I always had perfectly good excuses, and I rarely admitted my fault and gracias a Dios that she always forgave me and very impatiently continued to be the leader and make the calls to me. 

Then, for a short season, my older sister Lupe would call me every morning on her drive to work. “Good morning Sunshine” was her greeting. Sometimes I was sunshine, other times I just hoped she wouldn’t hear my morning rush voice. I mean, a little sister doesn’t mess with her big sister in the hierarchy scale. It was a short chapter in our lives, maybe six months or so. My sister was a brand new Christian, esperate, she always believed in God and respected her religion, but she had never known about repentance and inviting Christ into her heart. Wow! She had a radical conversion. Her hurt and pain were immediately replaced with joy and curiosity of this new found friend in Jesus. These phone calls were critical.  Thankfully with her, I never did face the truth that I didn’t pick up the phone to call her, I didn’t have to, morning was coming soon enough.

Through the years, picking up the phone and making a phone call has really been an issue for me. I have to be prompted by a “premonition” or just something extraordinary, like Holy Ghost conviction 😭 to make a call and even then, I put it off. Unfortunately, I have faced this uncovering with my sister Marina. She takes this neglect personal, except that it isn’t. Mira Rosalba, It’s just a phone call, it can be done while you pack Bens lunch, it can be done at any time, but it isn’t. And, here’s where I’m grateful for mi hermana. Thankfully, as much as it hurts us both, she makes me aware of my neglect and like Patty she is frustrated with me and we work through the offenses. Also, thankfully she doesn’t cancel me out of her life or herself out of mine. I know I have her loyal and strong support and I believe she knows she has mine too. 

 I am grateful for my patient and sometimes impatient siblings, we are family and they love me y le doy gracias a Dios in this Thanksgiving season that they keep on calling me. Y por supuesto that I am grateful for the DIY works of art that will come my way again through my sweet grandkids. 

Gracias Te Damos Señor

Tis the season to be thankful. I take too many things for granted, in these strange and difficult days. Good health and strength is something I’m so grateful for, especially as I’m climbing that mountain. Wait! Or am I…. descending the mountain? A healthy mind to process life does not go unnoticed in my book anymore. I’m recognizing again that we have things for seasons and sometimes we get special one time experiences that a grateful heart will tuck away into the memory, sometimes dormant, until something triggers it. Today was a trigger day. 

Usually when things happen they pile up needing attention ahorita mismo! This entire week has been chaotic, as all hands are on deck to plan a baby shower for our 8th, asi es 8th grandchild. As you can imagine everything is a mess, and with the weather being dry, everything is dusty and dirty. De repente, I get notice that I’ll have guests, que exagerada! It only felt like all of a sudden a grenade was launched and I had to get busy to save my life! The room I had to prepare was my apas room. I call it Tatas room. His room has had use, but not often in these past 11 months. I use it and it is not weird or painful to go in it, no mas que ahora I had to do some deep cleaning, and dusting reaching areas that require moving furniture around, ya saben. I had wiped down photo frames with images of dad and family. These faces look right at me whenever I go in, they’re part of the room. Suddenly I was transported back to those initial transition days of taking care of my apa. It was such a confusing and difficult time for him. He said he could do life alone, and he truly believed he still could. He stood his ground, there was nothing wrong with him he argued, he wasn’t stupid and he certainly wasn’t a baby. Dementia was already present but of course he didn’t know it.

We brought my dad’s pictures from his home into his new room.

The straw that broke the camel’s back, was yet another fall in his daycare facility, a blow to the head that sent him to the hospital. My sister and I scrambled. One of his caregivers was with him in the ER waiting for test results and for me to arrive. I already had a room ready for him in my home.

I’m going to attempt to describe what it is to battle Dementia, or mejor dicho, what me and my sister experienced with our apa. Dementia refers to memory loss and the loss of other reasoning abilities. It  is a progressive disease, which when severe enough will alter a person’s ability to function daily. Our apa dealt with dementia of the Alzhemiers kind.  It gets into the brain and squashes out memory and spreads until it reaches across the mind. Many sundown experiences put us into a twilight zone episode where we spun around in circles getting nowhere. “Redirect him,” the nurse would tell us, and when we weren’t bound up in frustration and angry emotions, we could manage that. Some of the more successful evening battles against dementia usually involved dad telling a childhood story from his long term memory archives. I tried to always be prepared with my writing  tools. 

Sometimes the skirmishes at  sundown left me confused! Today, deep cleaning this room, triggered a night time conversation I’d had with my apa. That first night in his new surroundings he was uncomfortable and awkward. We had settled him into bed and he wondered where I was going to sleep since he had taken my bed.

Me: No apa, es su cama

Apa: No, mi cama esta en mi casa

Me: Esta es su casa

He chuckled, like I was being polite, you know how we latinos open our home up, “mi casa es su casa.”  Que casualidad that he remembered that he wasn’t home. Sometimes dementia made me suspicious that perhaps he wasn’t confused, could he be faking it? Apa was worried about where I would sleep. I assured him that I was going to my room but if he needed anything I would hear him call and come check on him. I had a good monitor that picked up even the sound of his breathing.

Apa: Y Ben donde esta?

Me: Apa, Ben esta en nuestro cuarto.

He chuckled again, looking at me sideways. 

Apa: Ese no es Ben! Hijole! Dads long term memory only remembered the young Ben not the… hmmm… mature one 😀

Of course I was offended, dementia or no dementia mi apa was insinuating that another man would be in my bed! Imaginate! I stood up for myself of course and explained and explained again, four or five times, that Ben was the only man for me. I eventually resorted to the redirection trick and it worked. We survived our first night, apenas!  Another thing to be grateful for is my flaco who was patient and kind even though his suegro many times thought he was a stranger in the house.

Dementia torments it’s victims and their caregivers. Y por supuesto, my outlet has been my writing. It cages you up sometimes. At times I felt sorry for my apa and other times I was right in the cage with him. We experimented with him living part time in my home and part time in his, but we realized after a few months that it had only confused him more.

dementia is a humbling experience for both the patient and the caregiver.

I wrote this after a long evening of confusion for him and fatigue for me.


When are you taking me home?

Dad, you are home.

This is my home?

I must be losing my mind.

Where’s Lupe?

Your wife died last year.

What? I saw her last night.

I must be losing my mind.

Is my mother alive?

She died a long time ago.

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I must be losing my mind.

Where’s my wallet?

In your pocket.

Where’s my keys?

I must be losing my mind.

Is my car outside?

It’s right outside.

I can’t see it.

I must be losing my mind.

Tell me about your family?

Your husband repairs tires?

That’s my sisters husband,

My husband paints houses.

I must be losing my mind.

When are you taking me home?

You are home Dad.

Don’t you recognize the pictures?

I must be losing my mind.

Dad voiced those words many times when he couldn’t remember and then he would get confused and plenty of times angry because we didn’t understand him. It was a vicious cycle.

Today, I was sad for a moment about that trigger that led me down to that memory, but then I was glad for the opportunity to have lived it.

I am thankful for those years with my dad and for all the years I’ve had with family and friends. I’m grateful for every year that I have a healthy mind, to cherish, understand and appreciate my loved ones.